Recently there has been a lot of talk about the ever rapidly growing market for machines that can replicate what used to be a human run job.
According to Autodesk CEO Carl Bass, “The factory of the future will have only two employees: a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment.”
Economists predict that this type of automation will make the human jobs that we know today obsolete in the near future. Just in the US manufacturing jobs have fallen from 25% of the total in 1970 to approximately 10% today. In addition it is estimated that 47% of US jobs are at risk due to computerization.
The question we are scared to ask is, “how is everyone going to make money?” Some economists speculate that it will come from “basic income”, which is a wage you receive from the government for just being a human. Although this idea seems quite distance Switzerland came closest to it in recent history, even though it was voted down.
These robot takeovers are already in action, with companies like Amazon, which have built Internet-connected warehouses that operate without any human labor. This type of environment demonstrates how much more efficiently the combination of data and technology can run a company’s lowest tasks.
So who is safe in this situation? Computers haven’t yet gotten to the point of being creative, so the people whose jobs require constant creativity and innovation are secure for the time being. But robots are even beginning to show up in classrooms and give students personalized help, which has shown to be even more effective than help from the teacher.
The question of how we pay for it all is the one that raises the most red flags. The gains from automation go to the rich, which is why many people are proposing to heavily tax the very wealthy. But ultimately the question we as people are faced with is, even if everyone has enough money, do we want to see our society shift towards a world where the top 1% are the only people generating money, and the rest live off their earnings and are catered to by machines?